Research Output

New information literacy horizons: Making the case for career information literacy

Several researchers have noted that traditional information literacy scholarship has focused primarily on the exploration of the meanings and applications of information literacy within the library and higher education domains (e.g. Hall, Cruickshank & Ryan, 2020). In recent years, however, information literacy researchers have identified new horizons for the advancement of information literacy scholarship. Of note, scholars now explore information literacy in workplace contexts (e.g. Forster, 2017), and have called attention to the role of information literacy as part of complex information lives (e.g. Martzoukou & Sayyad Abdi, 2017). The objective of the literature review reported in this paper was to explore the extent to which prior information literacy research has been concerned with employability and – in particular – on career development and learning.

A literature search and review of information use in careers, and information literacy in diverse environments, was conducted to preface a larger empirical study (as part of a doctoral degree). The literature search was performed via a university library catalogue which provides access to multiple academic databases. This allowed for thorough coverage of relevant sources to be achieved. Variations and combinations of twelve keywords were input into the university’s ExLibris Primo library discovery service, and results then filtered for relevance. The keywords were: career, decision making, education, employability, everyday life, information behaviour, information literacy, information, learning, lifelong learning, library, and workplace. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the research, search results from the broad domains of Library and Information Science (LIS) and Career Studies were considered. The content of the retrieved items was manually coded by discipline and theme. Priority for inclusion in the literature review was given to publications that were recent, peer-reviewed, frequently cited, and that incorporated the specified keywords throughout.

At ECIL 2021, an analysis of the extant literature on information literacy and employability in general, and information literacy for the purposes of career development and learning in particular, will be presented. At the time of the submission of this abstract, work towards this presentation is still in progress. Preliminary results, however, indicate that information has been treated as a peripheral dimension in the careers literature, and that information literacy in the workplace has received considerably more research attention than information literacy for employability purposes in the LIS literature. There are also some key differences between scholarship on employability information literacy and that on workplace information literacy. The former is concerned with a specific set of employability behaviours in specific circumstances, whereas the latter is a term reserved for information literacy in organisational settings. Neither fully encompasses conceptualisations of ‘career’ as an on-going personal development project, whereby individuals engage in lifelong career development and learning. It is thus proposed that ‘career information literacy’ should be incorporated as an additional and separate strand of information literacy scholarship. This mode of information literacy should prepare individuals to deal with complex and variable tasks in unstructured, everyday environments, and to take goal-oriented action towards their personal career development goals.

  • Type:

    Conference Paper (unpublished)

  • Date:

    20 September 2021

  • Publication Status:


  • Funders:

    Economic and Social Research Council


Milosheva, M., Hall, H., Robertson, P., & Cruickshank, P. (2021, September). New information literacy horizons: Making the case for career information literacy. Paper presented at European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL) 2021, Bamberg, Germany [Online]



Information literacy, Career, Learning, Decision making

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